Welcome to my A-Z 2018, for which I am revisiting Africa, the continent of my childhood and my dreams. The posts are, as always, infoheavy and opinionated, but they are sectioned off - some music, the day’s topic, couple writers, a slideshow from the safaris – plenty ways to cherry-pick. So you may consume just as much, or as little, as you're cool with. Zero obligation to agree with any of my views either, feel free to air yours :)

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Right there on the threshold! - For Gagan Preet and Kagaz





The heart full, and the words came paper-thin,
the sky outside was a stretched night’s parchment skin -
a tent over the earth and a silver gap
through which a pale moon poked a finger in.


She came by in that moonlight and her anklet
made no music, it gave away no secret;
that curve of heel and that flash of movement
once seen quite impossible to forget.


One heartbeat on the path, and then no more;
no trace was left on paved road or floor.
He ran out in the moonlight but no signs,
no footprints showed the way to her door.


Pale silver lay the path, beyond nothing,
the moon fluttered like a broken bird wing.
He walked home slowly. There beside his threshold,
a red tassel had fallen from her earring.





Continuing with the theme of love and the Eastern fixed form rubai, this poem goes out today for Gagan Preet Singh who is 21, a young graduate from Delhi University, a professional photographer and an entrepreneur, wow! Quite a few feathers in his cap at such a young age.


Gagan Preet won himself a blog post here in a contest, the second winner to do so, and he wanted this prize dedicated to his new start-up ‘Kagaz’.  Kagaz is a brand of lovingly crafted hand-made jewellery.  And jewellery and Gagan Preet’s name (Gagan means ‘sky’, and Preet is ‘love’ – a love for the sky) are the prompts for this poem.  I Know! Too much to be a coincidence, right? Both the winners connected to ‘love’ and coming at a time and season when love is in the air and on my mind more than usual! :)


I hope Gagan Preet enjoys reading the poem as much as I have enjoyed writing it.  Wishing him and Kagaz every success! May what you are looking for be found right beside your threshold :) It’s been absolutely amazing writing for both the winners (read the other poem here).


This unique contest was part of a pay-it-forward initiative at Buzzaria, my heartfelt thanks to the team there for this opportunity to participate.



~~~



A word here also about the A-Z Blogging Challenge which starts tomorrow and runs throughout April. All month long I will be posting the works of great poets and my own poems in response to them, every day except for Sundays.  There will be giveaways for the top commenters after the month is over, so do check back and make your opinions heard. 







Monday, 30 March 2015

Truth's a hymn : For Amarjeet and Gayatri






The primal source, first vines that exploded
into life, gone dormant now, but nothing’s dead.
The truth’s a hymn, whether each sang or not
and love is truth, even if they left it unsaid.


The tavern’s full, but there’s always a spot
for those ones that the great patrons forgot.
The crowds nudge closer to clear a little space
and the Saki sets a cup and pours a shot.


There’s always love, and truth, and a small place
for those who cannot sing, don’t know the ways.
The vine knows to bloom and offers its pressed
red gifts to those who love, and self-efface.


And the Saki knows them too, all those blessed.
Love’s immortal but too rarely expressed;
but she knows that nothing’s ever wasted,
nothing’s lost from the goblet of each guest.



This poem, based on the Eastern fixed form rubai, goes out today for Amarjeet (Amar), the husband of Gayatri Gahlaut.  Amar is a keen golfer and a sports lover, and Gayatri is a poetry fan. They live in Delhi and are fond grandparents to Reyansh.



Gayatri won herself a blog post here in a contest, and she dedicated the prize to her husband.  An amazing uncanny coincidence, as love is on my mind right now. Well, to be honest, love is always on my mind, but it seems to have a special weight and texture this season J Gayatri’s name (which is the name of a particular goddess in the Hindu pantheon, and also used to refer to a hymn to the same deity), and Amar’s name (which means immortal) combine to form the prompt for this post.  Amr, which is a popular name here in the Middle East where I live, incidentally, derives from the root-word for ‘long life’ in Arabic, another uncanny coincidence that blew my mind. 



I hope both Amarjeet and Gayatri enjoy reading the poem as much as I have enjoyed writing it.



This unique contest was part of a pay-it-forward initiative at Buzzaria, my thanks to the team there for this opportunity to participate.





Sunday, 29 March 2015

Love-words










I took all the love-words, written, spoken,
those I traced on paper, and on your skin
and made a heap of the promises broken
like snapped chair legs, and I took each jasmine
kiss, fragrant petals unfurled against your mouth,


kept them pressed between the heavy, gilt edges
of waiting and footfalls, the empty music
in the risers of staircases, between the pages
and fingers of the afternoons, the tricks
of hours, and still got nowhere near the truth.











Monday, 23 March 2015

The Great A-Z Theme Reveal



This year is my second time at A-Z, and I am happy to report that I am a bit better organised. Figured out most of the stuff, themes, posts, scheduling vs spontaneous and all that before April.  Worked on my entries, but will keep scheduling and publishing closer to the actual day, just because! 

This time, my theme is Response Poems.  How it’s going to play out is like this: I’ll pick a poet whose (last) name begins with the letter for the day, and post a poem I’ve written as a response to her/his work.  It may also be more than one poet or one title just to vary things a bit.  So that’s 26 published poets, some very well-known and some not so famous, to read, ponder and then react to.  I will, whenever possible, dip into the works of Arab, African and Indian poets for my prompts as well. It's going to be a difficult but wonderful and exciting challenge. My sources for this exercise are diverse, I shall be pointing them out in the individual posts.


A shout out to Arlee Bird the creator of the A-Z Challenge, and the co-hosts.  For me, the A-Z is an awesome learning tool, a great way to expand one’s horizons, to keep the research muscles limber and try out new things in writing. See you on the 1st and happy A-Zing!




Posted for the The Great A-Z Theme Reveal


Monday, 16 March 2015

First gold




Nature’s first gold is leaf, and grain;
far easier to love and obtain
than mere metal, however rare.
Yet grass is ignored, metals reign.



Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Crumbed





Truth is never one,
unlike the solitary sun;
absolute, resplendent, sailing the skies.
More a scattering of stars
these crumbed truths of ours,
hard to pick out from the brightness of lies.






Saturday, 7 March 2015

The washerwoman and refractions



A twist of fabric becomes its own whip
the broad back of the ghat+ an attack on grease
soap suds form a bubble between the hits
a see through glob, sea-blue on the breeze
not that the dhobin* has time to notice
a refracted sun of corkscrewed perspective.


I am entranced and terrified by turns;
she knows to ignore paralysing angst.
Each lens refracts its individual sun
all fabrics have their bricks and riverbanks;
whatever the tint and tilt of the lens
the truth lies always beyond the refractions.



+ Paved riverbank
* Washerwoman







Monday, 2 March 2015

Another day at the circus






The space for dissent narrows to a thread,
violence now a religion, terrible bread
by which man insists on living alone,
heedless of what is defaced, mangled dead.